Mauritius, Munich, Oktoberfest, Berchtesgaden and Paris: Hotel Review – Intercontinental Berchtesgaden Resort
Trip Summary: Back in January of 2012 I decided to put my frequent flyer mileage knowledge, skills and learnings to the test and book the honeymoon of our dreams for my wife and me. While it took several months for the plans to fully materialize, the result was an amazing, while not always seamless trip. This is not only a recap of the trip we took and how we got there, but also the beginning of more formal travel blogging to showcase my adventures in the United States and abroad.
This trip will be summarized in the following topics:
- Background: Booking a Dream Honeymoon,Next Stop Mauritius and Oktoberfest, An Unexpected Travel Scare and a PSA About Passport Expiration
- Flight Reports: Air France Business Class DTW-CDG, Air France Lounge at Paris CDG Airport, A Layover in Paris
- Mauritius: Four Seasons Hotel Mauritius Review, Mauritius South Island Tour, Air France Lounge at Paris CDG Airport
- Munich: Hilton Munich City Hotel Review, Oktoberfest in Munich
- Berchtesgaden: Intercontinental Berchtesgaden Resort Hotel Review, Hitler’s Eagles Nest Kehlsteinhaus
As a fan of both the Stephen E Ambrose book Band of Brothers and the HBO Miniseries with the same name, the name Berchtesgaden was already familiar in my mind when we decided to make a stop here on the honeymoon. In fact, as part of the preparation for our trip to Berchtesgaden both my wife and I read the entire book.
The last chapter of the book is entitled Berchtesgaden and in the chapter they discuss the US troops liberating Hitler’s Eagles Nest (Kehlsteinhaus in German) near the end of the war. I have been fascinated by Kehlsteinhaus ever since.
Even with my fascination, I wasn’t really sure what to expect when we visited the property. At first, I wasn’t even sure that we could visit the Kehlsteinhaus itself, or if we could just view it from afar. It didn’t take long to learn that not only is Hitler’s Eagles Nest quite accessible, you can spend quite a bit of time exploring the grounds. And the views are BEAUTIFUL!
In fact, the views were so great that I decided to make this a separate post from the rest of my Berchtesgaden blogging, because the pictures deserve their own resting place. What follows is a very photo-heavy tribute to the place the Easy Company of the 101st Airborne occupied on May 5, 1945.
To get to the entrance to the elevators to Kehlsteinhaus, you must travel by bus up an extremely steep road that was famously built in only 13 months. Busses run in typical German efficiency, with a very tight schedule to uphold.
On the way up the road, we could easily see our hotel, the Intercontinental Berchtesgarden Resort.
As you exit the bus, you see the entrance to the elevators, which take visitors to the perch where Kehlsteinhaus rests. The entrance was big enough to fit large jeeps, and now hundreds of tourists at a time.
Walking down the main passageway to the elevator was a very odd experience. There were all kinds of people around me in a crowded hallway speaking German. Having watched Schindler’s List growing up, I felt like something bad was about to happen. Later in the day I asked my wife if she found the passageway weird and she said the exact same thing. Fortunately, we lived to blog about it.
As soon as you exit the elevator, reality sets in. What was once the epicenter of the Axis of evil is now a Bavarian restaurant with a Biergarden. Oh how the mighty have fallen.
And then you start to look around and realize why Hitler wanted to set up shop at the top of the mountain. The Views are Amazing!
I’m going to shut up now and let you decide for yourself.
The most interesting part that I found about Kehlsteinhaus is that it’s actually a lot smaller than I thought. It’s much closer to a vacation home than it is to a military base. No wonder why the Band of Brothers experienced such little resistance while liberating the area – the place only sleeps 7 comfortably!
I’m sure that you can probably tell from my writing that I was in love with my experience at Hitler’s Eagles Nest. It was appealing to the history buff in me, the photographer and even the honeymooner. My wife loved it as well, and we both determined we need to spend more time in Berchtesgaden next time we come back.
If you ever have the opportunity to go to Munich, take the extra hour to visit Berchtesgaden. It’s well worth it.